A Canadian work permit is a legal document that allows a foreign national to work in Canada. The government of Canada issues over five hundred thousand work permits each year to temporary foreign workers. In other words, a Canadian work permit allows foreign nationals to get employed in Canada.
The work permit application process is a crucial step toward employment for foreign employees aiming to work in Canada. Therefore, it is essential to pass through appropriate pathways to obtain a Canadian work permit.
Canadian work permit applications can be processed in several ways. Generally, to obtain work permits, an employer must submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), whereas, for other types of work permits, a relationship with Canada is required (previous education, spousal sponsorship, etc.).
The following categories will help you find the correct work permit for your situation:
Open Work Permits (no job offers or LMIA required)
A work permit that is not tied to a single business or area is referred to as an open work permit. This ensures that a foreign national with a valid open work permit can work for multiple employers in different regions of Canada. Please be advised that some open work permits may have other conditions or limits that foreign nationals must comply with. Applicants do not need to submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The followings are the types of Open Work Permits:
- Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP)
- Spousal Sponsorship from Inside of Canada
- International Experience Canada (IEC) (working holiday visa)
- Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)
- Spouse Accompanying International Student or Worker
Benefits of having an open work permit
Open work permits are highly popular because they allow their holders more flexibility. Unlike most work permits attached to a certain business, an open work permit enables a foreign national to work for any employer in Canada, giving them the ability to move about with their ease. By gaining Canadian work experience you will also increase your eligibility to secure permanent residence in Canada.
Temporary Work Permits (with LMIA or job offer from a Canadian employer)
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is the standard temporary worker visa. It is given to foreign workers who have previously accepted a job offer from a Canadian employer and for whom the employer has acquired a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from the Canadian government.
LMIA-Based Work Permits
LMIA application is an official process of hiring a foreign worker for a Canadian organization. The foreign worker must first receive government approval before the hiring process takes place which is known as Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). If you are interested in LMIA-based work permits, please click here to get more information.
LMIA-Exempt Work Permits
Although you must have a work permit to work in Canada, in some instances, you are allowed to work in the country without a permit. Here are the work permits that are LMIA-exempt:
How to apply for work permit in Canada?
To get a work permit in Canada you need to submit an online application package with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or a Canadian visa office. Please note that for most work permits you will need to have a job offer from a Canadian employer before submitting your application.
It is necessary to note that the procedure for applying for a Canadian work permit varies based on the type of work permit you seek. The first step is determining which kind of work permit is most appropriate for you.
To get a work permit in Canada, it is usual to go through a two-step procedure to get a Canadian work permit. In most situations, candidates will first need to get a job offer in Canada before they can apply for a work permit.
Step 1 – Most of the time, the initial step toward getting a Canadian work permit is to submit an application to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Typically, a Canadian business must conduct domestic recruiting efforts and prove that Canadian permanent residents or citizens are not suited for the job before the position is filled.
Step 2 – Following the issuance of a positive LMIA, the applicant may proceed to apply for a Canadian work visa based on the LMIA. Unless a worker holds an open work permit, work permits are employer-specific. If a worker wishes to change employers, they must first get a new Work Permit before engaging in any further employment activities in Canada.
Please note that foreign workers may not need to have an LMIA or a job offer to apply for a work permit in some cases. This is true for those who have recently graduated from a Designated Learning Institute (DLI) or for the spouse of someone who is already in Canada on a work or study permit.